2020-06-01

PROFILE:  Justin Bonavia

Lives:

Role:

Place of Work:

​Community Activity:

Malta

Product manager

Altaro Software

Solving peoples backup related problems

Q1 – Which country do you live in?

I live in Malta, Europe.

Q2 – How do you help out in the community?

I enjoy participating in several online fora and tech communities, contributing to discussions, and helping those who have questions on backup-related problems, and it’s a great way to learn something new as well. I play an active role within the growing community of IT admins who use our products, providing advice and assistance when needed. I also train our distributors and partners so that they can help their customers directly.

Q3 – Tell us a bit about what and where you spend your working days doing?

I wear several hats at Altaro, working with all the key teams throughout the development of a product to its final release to market. My role begins with understanding the market, emerging trends, and getting to know more about the problems our customers have and the features they are looking for in a backup product. The next step is to formulate the requirements for these features and handing them over to the engineering teams. I am involved throughout the development cycle until the product is ready, and also working closely with marketing on our product/feature messaging. Training is also key for our support, sales teams and our partners to enable them to properly sell the new features or product.

Q4 – How did you get into working with Microsoft technologies?

I started working with Microsoft technologies when I began working in IT. I started as a network engineer progressing to systems administrator. Inevitably, you are dealing with Microsoft technologies – be it management of the corporate network of Windows PCs, to installing MS software, to the configuration of servers with the latest operating systems etc. Roles change and technology changes but at some point, there is always some underlying Microsoft tech at work.

Q5 – Where’s the last place you traveled more than 300 miles to?

The United States: Phoenix – Arizona, and Irvine – California.

Q6 – What’s your proudest achievement?

As a product manager, every new feature that we introduce is a proud moment. On a personal note, coming up with an idea and curating it from concept to final release is a proud achievement.

Q7 – Name 3 cool things about a product/service that your company offers?

Altaro Office 365 Backup is a backup and recovery solution for companies using Office 365 to set their minds at rest should they suffer some kind of data loss or damage. We have a version for Managed Service Providers and End Users alike. Three cool things about it include:

Its multi-tenant, cloud-based management console enables MSPs to centrally manage and monitor all their customers’ Altaro backups via a single pane of glass.

Storage on our Microsoft Azure infrastructure is included as part of the price as well as 24/7 support.

MSPs only pay Altaro for the users backed up per month.

Q8 – What is the biggest tip you would give to someone starting to learn Office 365 / SharePoint?

At first, the platform can be intimidating. There are multiple levels of complexity and so many features to learn. However, once you understand what it’s doing and why it is not that challenging. The simplest way to describe the platform is a file and web server combined into one. A very powerful one at that. It is also a huge store of your company’s data which facilitates cross-team collaboration. What many newcomers to Office 365 don’t realise is that Microsoft is not backing up that data. If something goes wrong, there are no backups to recover that data from. Therefore, my advice is simple: back up, back up, back up.

Q9 – Where do you see SharePoint in 5 years – Is it “SharePoint RIP”, or “Long live SharePoint!!!”?

Definitely “long live SharePoint”. Everything is integrated or will be integrated into Microsoft 365 or whatever name will be given in the future. The underlying technology is founded on SharePoint and whatever comes next will be built upon it.

Q10 – What’s your favorite (Microsoft related) book, conference, blog and tool?

There are several blogs by Microsoft MVPs that I follow regularly – such as Thomas Maurer. Although not a technical book per se, Hit Refresh by Satya Nadella is a great read about the company’s quest to rediscover its core beliefs and soul. Microsoft Visio is one tool that I find indispensable in my role as it helps me to convey visually what I’m imagining in a feature.

Q11 – If you didn’t have a career in Microsoft technology what else would LOVE to do?

I would have studied law. Law can be fascinating. If I did not go down the IT career path, I would have chosen law.

Q12 – Do you think Microsoft Teams will become THE staff dashboard of the future?

It is the dashboard of the present. The situation with Covid-19 has clearly revealed its value and role in facilitating remote working and communication. With more features expected in the coming months, it will become a staple technology for many companies.

Q13 – How would you describe what you do as a job to a classroom of children?

We build tools for those who work with technology and data. My job is to understand what they need and to build tools that help them do their work without problems and that make their life a little bit easier.

Q14 – If you were on the product team in Redmond, name 1 thing you’d improve about SharePoint?

I would look into simplifying the hierarchy of site-collections / sites and subsites to make it more accessible and easier for small and medium-sized businesses to understand and manage. They do not always have an IT professional to guide them when setting up their organisation using Office 365.

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About the author 

Fraser Beadle

I work in Collab365 as Product and Operations manager. My focus is on Community Sponsorship, our Collab365 Workshops, and our new 365ers platform where members will be able to learn together.

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